26

I guess twenty-six is the age
Where you begin to forget,
At least, from time to time,
What age you are again.

Perhaps counting is more important–
Or rather, more on the mind
Of our younger selves,
Preoccupied with the value of numbers,

And as we age, we lose sight
Of our quantitative worth,
Becoming increasingly convinced
In the merits of qualitative analysis.

Age, we might say, answers a question:
More ‘what’ than ‘why’,
And what we believe we are
Cannot be numerically valued.

Why, we might also ask,
Does one say “How old are you?”
Does not age lend itself to addressing
The question of the quality of a life?

So then, to the American,
Age is a condition in our lives,
And conditions may be reversed
Or cured by science or other practices.

The French, though, ask it another way:
«Quel âge a-t-il?»
Implying that age references mostly
A possession–entirely apart from self.

And that leaves alone the question
Of what you are and how you are,
Redirecting, instead, or projecting
Temporal worries outside the self.

But when I was asked this morning,
“How old are you?”
None of these thoughts came to mind;
En fait, the mind was mostly blank.

Summertime in Yokosuka

Heavy lies the air on this town,
Wet with dew and
Soaked in the heat of day.

No wind, but a sludgy space;
The air suffers no movement—
No sea breeze from the bay.

Those who do promenade
Entrapped in clothed barriers,
Steam slowly along their way.

No rising, the heat settles here—
Settles in, makes itself at home—
So too we rest in summertime malaise.

One Step Forward

One step forward,
My hand on your waist,
With you my mirror
Backing away.

You turn your face,
Elongating your neck,
But your eyes rest on me,
Awaiting our next move.

I step aside, then back,
And you follow me
Step-by-step, swaying
With my rhythms.

You move your body,
Grace flowing like water;
I move with purpose,
Punctuating each step.

We hum the melody
Of a well-known tune,
One we’ve heard before
And will always know.

One step forward,
One step back again,
Following my lead,
Your hand in mine.

Night Without End

Does the night have an end?
Will dawn break upon me at last?
My face has seen only the moon,
Reflected light of the promised day.

Every time I see promise of dawn,
Rays looked for beyond the horizon,
She fades once more into dusk
And daylight escapes my eyes.

Surely, the dawn must approach!
Now, I say, I am certain of it!
Or have my eyes only adjusted
To dimness, to lack of sun’s light?

How can I even know the sun?
Perhaps this is daybreak after all
And I am only incapable of seeing
Through eyes maladjusted to light.

Or do I hold out in waning hope
For a gift I would not recognize
Were I ever to be blessed with it?
The night lends itself not to hope.

Self Help

Why is it that at my most depressed,
At my greatest feelings of loneliness,
All I want to be is
Alone?

Why, when I most need advice, help,
When I utterly despair of my own devices,
The only one I trust is
Myself?

I suppose experience has shown me
On whom I can rely at any and all times,
When I cannot allow for
Failure.

In the end, with enough time, thought,
I believe the answers I must find
I’ll find by turning
Inward.

Not nearly often enough do I remember
Another option that should be primary:
Truly, I need only look
Upward.

Time and Space

Life is not a series of snapshots,
Disjointed, separated by time and space,
Categorizing relations and emotions–
Me here, you there, we then, us when?

What does it take for a life to feel real?
This life, my life, our life, in pictures:
Clips and broken laughs, short smiles
Are enough–just–for how long, though?

How long can we last living–if it is that–
Like this: saying goodbye far more often
Than we meet–or so it seems to me.
Is this all we can expect from life today?

And what of tomorrow: will time relent
From its hold on our expectations for love?
And will the space repent of its sins against
A faltering relationship, struggling through?

A Grateful Servant

I will praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Even when my blessing seems a meager portion–
Even when I am incapable of understanding
The awesome blessing of being loved by I AM.

Forgive, oh Lord, your oft ungrateful servant
Who would just as soon strike his fellow man
For crimes less grave than those I have committed
Against You, my gracious Master and loving King.

Your authority and grace bewilder your servant–
How they intermix and combine into Fatherly love.
Far beyond my comprehension are such things;
I can only ask for the wisdom to understand in time.